The horrifying narration of “Setareh Zadhesh” about being in the headquarters of the PJAK and escaping from them

Setareh; from child marriage to child soldier in PJAK.

According to the Iranian Kurdistan Human Rights Watch, the deception and kidnapping of young Iranian Kurdish girls and teenagers is one of the common and popular methods of Kurdish armed groups, girls and women are more interested in groups such as, PJAK, PAK. Komala, Demokrat, and P.K.K. First, because they are more easily deceived and have less physical and emotional resistance against the cult-like atmosphere of these groups; Secondly, when they are in these groups, they are less likely to resist the orders of the leaders of these armed groups than men. And thirdly, they can be used as sexual slaves. On the other hand, it is less possible for women and girls to escape from the headquarters of these groups in the mountains Also few people doubt them in armed and terrorist operations.  For this reason, armed and terrorist groups like PAK seriously and widely use women in their structure.

One of the permanent problems in the Kurdish regions of Iran, which IKHRW has mentioned many times, is the issue of cultural poverty and child marriage. As long as the Kurdish society of Iran does not oppose the forced marriage of girls at a young age; there will be grounds for dissatisfaction and escape and suicide and self-immolation of Kurdish girls.

In one of their notes IKHRW experts wrote: “One of the harms and effects of economic poverty is child marriage.” Studies show that early marriages are mainly caused by poverty. The age of marriage is also lower in less developed provinces where the rate of poverty and illiteracy is higher. Also, the marriage of girls at a young age is higher in Sistan and Baluchestan, Hormozgan, Khuzestan, Kurdish regions and border regions than in the central and developed provinces. About the subject of today’s interview of IKHRW reporter it clearly can be said that child marriage has turned into child soldiers.

Setareh; from child marriage to child soldier in PJAK

Setareh Zadhesh, daughter of Mohammad Sediq (born in 1997), is the subject of IKHRW reporter today. In an interview with IKHRW reporter, Setareh tells the story of her life as follows: “At the insistence of my family I got married at a very young age, when I was almost 16 years old. I did not want to get married at all. I had to drop out of school. Beside all these troubles; I was not satisfied with the new forced life. I did not like my husband at all. I didn’t even have a good day; I could do nothing just to live. I had no choice; in the traditional environment of our region, talking about divorce is dishonor! Almost a year later my daughter was born, I felt my life would get better; but this was not true. After my daughter was born, the problems increased. I couldn’t bear anymore and even decided to commit suicide several times, but I didn’t have the strength and courage to do so. Finally, I separated… we couldn’t live together anymore… In this situation, PJAK members came to our village…

Talking to PJAK members and a lifelong regret

At the same time in my life, I was suffering and fighting with my husband; PJAK members used to come and go inside our village and I sometimes saw them. Inexperienced and lack of proper training and hatred of marriage, I talked to them several times. And unconsciously I was expressing my life problems to them. This is how the armed members of PJAK got into my private life and they knew that I was separated and I have a child, and they were getting closer to me day by day. After every time talking and expressing my problems, they told me that I can have a better life with them! I thought that I should either commit suicide or continue living a miserable life after the breakup, as both options became impossible for me to bear. It was impossible for me to bear the village, the blame of the people and family of my ex-husband and myself… As a result, between bad and worse, I chose the bad and was tricked by PJAK members and ran away from the village and home with them… Of course; PJAK was not bad; I was wrong; It was a disaster; Compared to the headquarters of PJAK, life with my husband was as heaven and I as a teenager was deceived and there was no way to return.

Entering Iraq and the beginning of the calamity

I joined PJAK; In fact, I ran away from Iran, the village and my husband’s house with them! They took me to Iraq and we entered their headquarters. Entering the PJAK headquarters means loss of my dream! There was no news of a comfortable life; training course started immediately. In the first days, I regretted but I did not dare to express. What I saw was not at all like what they said! Behaviors, facilities, methods of interaction, etc. had all changed. I did not have a comfortable life; Educational and theoretical classes were meaningless to me! I didn’t even have a diploma, but I was going through PJAK’s ridiculous training course on the history of Kurdistan and working with weapons! I told the members that I cannot live here and I intend to return, but I faced their opposition. There was no more sympathetic tone, they threatened me several times and even said that my father said that he would kill me if he saw me. Of course, later I realized that none of them were true just to scare me. They had to tell lies to keep me by force, lies that cost my life and youth…

The transformation of Setareh the teenager into a deformed and soulless person

I could do nothing, I didn’t even know where I could run away. The whole environment was mountains and valleys! I decided to endure and live until the proper situation comes. I was trying to get used to PJAK hell. With all its hardships, life in the village, was much easier than in PJAK headquarters. We spent our days and nights in the tent, and the cold and the heat had become a disaster for us. There was no hot water for bathing. These hardships were unbearable even for me who lived in the village. While I was there, I felt that I had no feelings and emotions anymore. I felt I was completely brainwashed! I had become a soulless and emotionless person and I even felt guilty and being traitor when thinking about my family. I was induced that family has no meaning anymore and the best life is in the mountain. It was induced that marriage and motherhood means betrayal and slavery, and living in the mountains means pure freedom!

Membership of Setareh’s brother in PJAK

Almost a year after I entered PJAK and life in the mountains had become normal for me, the news of membership of my younger brother Himan destroyed me. It was there that I came to my senses and realized what I had done to my family, but it was over. I thought how my parents could cope with the death of two of their children… I wanted to see him but the hellish atmosphere of PJAK didn’t allow it and I begged to see Himan even for an hour to ask why he joined. After begging for weeks, they only allowed us to meet for one day and it was there that Himan said he came after me to save me! But they didn’t let us talk for more than an hour and immediately moved him to another place! I had already hated PJAK; they destroyed our lives and did not even allow me to be with my brother! From that day on, my peace was destroyed and I was totally mad! I didn’t even think to myself and I just wanted to save my young brother; but there was no news of Himan and they did not allow us to see each other at all.

Transformation of Himan into a heartless brother in PJAK

A few years after my brother and I parted, and a few months before I could escape, I happened to see my brother. Of course, it was Himan only apparently, because when I talked to him, he was no longer that simple-hearted and kind brother! What did they do to that child?! He had no feelings for me at all and it was as if a robot was standing in front of me! He was so brainwashed that he no longer accepted me as his sister. The brother who came to save me, now under the influence of brainwashing, no longer thinks about me and my family. But I could not leave and forget my brother. I told him that at the right time we should escape together and save ourselves. Himan, who was influenced by the PJAK, informed them, and they immediately imprisoned me! Is it possible that my little brother, who came to save his sister, has changed like this?  The whole world had collapsed on me, I hated myself, I had put my young brother into trouble with my own hand; Now neither I could escape nor my brother; One was imprisoned and the other was transformed!

Prison experience in PJAK

When my escape was revealed, I was imprisoned in PJAK prison for 45 days. All that time, every three days, two members of PJAK came to the prison and tried to dissuade me from escaping. They used every possible method, from destruction of personality to death threats. They told me that if I run away, my brother and father will kill me because of this betrayal! Of course, I knew very well that all these words were lies. Death by my brother in Iran was heaven for me than PJAK!

Escape from PJAK headquarters

As soon as I was released from prison, I was determined to escape after a few days. I decided to run away by myself first, then think about Himan’s fate.  As the proper opportunity was available, I ran away from there and reached one of the villages in the Kurdistan region and from there I could call my family, who were all waiting for me.  After my call, my brother – who the PJAK members said would kill me – immediately followed me and after a few days I could return to our village. I am very happy to be back to my family; but all the time I think about my young brother – Himan -. I do not know what to do. I just hope that he could save himself one day and let this torment of conscience end so that we can live together again… May God keep Himan alive

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